UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Happy Lands - out now on DVD

In these days of Hollywood blockbusters with mega publicity budgets and associated merchandising, geared more to the needs of the film companies than the audiences, it’s refreshing to come across a film like The Happy Lands. And very unusual. It’s rare to come across a film about the 1926 General Strike, far less one filmed professionally with a £1m+ budget.
    But what makes The Happy Lands special in this story of a Fife mining community’s response to austerity and adversity is that:

• All the actors are local people

•They built the scenery and wrote the script

•They even composed the soundtrack

•Youngsters got trained in film-making

Theatre Workshop Scotland’s ground breaking approach to community film involved 1000+ local volunteers (including UNISON members in leading roles) giving 88,000 hours of their own time to learn about and celebrate their own history – a history that was in danger of being lost, but now is preserved forever, but more importantly can inspire today’s and future generations.

Austerity budgets, private v public ownership, the role of women, the importance of strong communities, health & safety, victimisation of TU activists are live issues for activists today............and they’re all covered in this film in a thought provoking way.

"We like your film, it’s better than we expected" said the professional distributors, "but we just don’t think there’s an audience for it." So without a PR or distribution budget, supporters of the film have been trying to prove there is an audience by organising local screenings up and down the country. It’s even been shown abroad in China, France, Germany – descendants of victimised miners who had to emigrate to find work have been desperate to see the film.

Now the national press has picked up on The Happy Lands. Last week’s Daily Mirror carried a major feature – scroll down the link above and you can also support The Happy Lands by buying the DVD for £13.75 – an ideal Christmas present!

Please spread the word.

Bill Gilby